No Academic Troubles For Hogs

FAYETTEVILLE — The grades are in. Arkansas is in good shape. Interim coach Reggie Herring, who was concerned about the academic status of a handful of players when he took over for departed coach Houston Nutt last month, said the Razorbacks did not sustain any academic casualties this semester. It leaves Arkansas with a full roster for the Cotton Bowl against Missouri.

"I think it's safe to say that the players have done a great job of taking care of the work, their academics," Herring said Wednesday. "That's as big an announcement as you can make."

Especially, Herring said, with the amount of academic problems cropping up at schools across the country this month.

Clemson announced that three seniors aren't eligible for the Chick-fil-A bowl against Auburn. Neither is New Mexico's leading rusher.

But the most notable academic trouble comes from Herring's alma mater, Florida State. At least 20 players have been suspended for the Music City Bowl because of an academic cheating scandal.

"I'm just proud that this group has done what they need to do to be at full strength," Herring said of the Razorbacks. "There is a lot going around the country and that makes us an exception because we're doing the right things here."

Running back Darren McFadden is expected to declare for the NFL Draft after the bowl game, but said everyone took their academic work seriously despite the distractions the past few weeks.

"That's something that's very important to us," McFadden said. "You look around the country and some teams have some starters out and things like that, but I feel like everybody was focused through the whole year and kept their grades up."


Arkansas was treated to a rare sight Wednesday: Receivers Marcus Monk and Robert Johnson were on the practice field together.

The receivers, who have battled knee and ankle injuries, respectively, spent the second half of the season rotating practice days. But both suited up for Wednesday's practice and plan on being on the field together again this morning.

"It's bringing up old memories," Johnson said. "I missed (Monday's) practice because I was sick. (Monk) practiced and called me and was mad because it was supposed to be my day to go supposedly and his day to lay off. We'll just go the last two days and be even."


McFadden, who was available to the media for the first time since returning from the awards circuit, said he has spent much of the past week trying to get back in shape after missing workouts.

McFadden showed he was serious at the end of practice, when Herring divided the team and held a brief field goal competition between Alex Tejada, Jeremy Davis and Brian Vavra. McFadden was part of the winning side, but ran sprints with the losing team.

"You can't go out there and play a game half speed getting tired and things like that," McFadden said. "You've got to be ready."


New Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino watched practice in the Walker Indoor Pavilion from the team weight room Wednesday. In addition, departed safeties coach and new Ole Miss assistant Chris Vaughn was watching from the ground floor. ... The Razorbacks will practice this morning before being released to go home for Christmas. Arkansas will report to Dallas on Dec. 26.

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